Recently I was reading in my devotional and I came across these lines from an old poem by Florence White Willett:
"I thank You for the bitter things
They've been a friend to grace,
They've driven me from the paths of ease
To storm the secret place."
This got me thinking about the "Secret Place." What is this Secret Place? Where is it? How do I access it? Why would I want to?
We are so used to living our entire lives in the "Public Place" (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.) that there are barely any secrets about ourselves. We storm the public place from the time we wake up until we go to bed. But the Secret Place is where everything upside-down gets turned right-side up. It is where lies are replaced with truth; where true beauty and value are revealed; where rest and quiet abound, where our striving and comparing and rushing cease. It's a place I want to visit more frequently and for longer periods of time. Would you like to know more about it?
Basically, the Secret Place is where we align ourselves with Christ and His Word, with the Kingdom of God and the passions and values of our Father. In the Secret Place, we don't have to be the best or the most beautiful or the most talented; in fact, there aren't statuses such as "most" and "best." There is only "those who are in Christ Jesus" and "sons and daughters of God."
In the Secret Place, I am a daughter and I am loved for who I am in Christ. More than that, I am "the one Jesus loves." There I know that nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. I know that "in quietness and trust is my strength." (Is. 30:15). I know that the first shall be last and the last shall be first; that the greatest is the least and the least is the greatest.
In the Secret Place I remember that Jesus wants me to pour out my heart to Him. To be real. To be honest. He reminds me that when I am weak, then I am strong because I am leaning into His strength.
In the Public Place I hear different messages. We aim to outdo one another, not in love and good works, but in status and possessions and wealth and beauty. We attempt to present a picture-perfect life so that we can feel okay about ourselves. It's a false sense of security, but it feels safe. We want to present a perfect marriage, family job, house and life. And that puts a lot of pressure on those closest to us because we need them to play the part, too.
In the Public Place we worry that we might miss out on the latest bit of news or the most recent fad. We want to be in the know. All the time.
Paul wrote that we are to "make it your ambition to lead a quiet life. " (1 Thessalonians 4:11). A quiet life? Where nobody knows how fabulous we are? Where our achievements and successes go unrecognized and unrewarded? Where we are just living our lives focusing on what Christ has called us to?
As I thought more and more about it, I realized Jesus wants me to be living in the Secret Place even when I'm in the Public Place. I can be in the world and not of the world. I can bring the Kingdom of God to the places I interact and work and live. I can hear the "still, small voice" even in the midst of the public square. I can live out of that Secret Place because Christ lives in me through the Holy Spirit.
So, are you ready to "storm the Secret Place?" Are you willing to let go of all that you think will keep you safe and loved and trust that the One who made you, the One who knows you best and knows what you need?